Volunteering doesn’t mean taking on a project without learning how to do it, either. John M. DelGaudio, MD, chief of rhinology and sinus surgery and professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, is in the midst of climbing a four-year ladder: After being on the board of directors of the American Rhinologic Society for years, he was elected second vice president and is now spending this year as the first vice president. Next year, he will be president-elect, and the year after, president. “It’s a nice way to get ramped up before you have significant responsibility,” he said. This process has helped him learn the ins and outs of the specialty and given him insight into how various issues dealing with healthcare, finance, and reimbursement are all handled. “I had inadequate knowledge of many things before assuming a leadership position,” he said. “Doing so gives you a different appreciation of what you do day to day, a better understanding of the issues of bringing new technology to clinicians, coding, and reimbursement at the governmental and payer level.”
Explore this issue:September 2015
When you learn people have problems with reimbursement or bundling, “it opens your eyes to what is happening in your state,” he added. “We’re so busy as clinicians, seeing patients and managing offices, that a lot of this stuff goes unrecognized.”
Dr. DelGaudio emphasized the positives of getting involved as a leader in a professional society. “You have to get involved in order to make a difference,” he said. “If you aren’t, you aren’t as familiar as you think you are about coding, procedures, and how technology is approved. If you’re not involved, you’re not aware of how you can change it.”
Dr. Ishman agreed. “The Board of Governors [BOG] is always looking for people to help,” she said. “You don’t need a title or a position, you just need the interest. It’s as easy as showing up at your local ENT society or at a BOG meeting and volunteering and saying you are interested. The society staff are really great resources for those who get involved.”
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance medical writer based in Massachusetts.